I always learn something from my guests on Conversations with Creatives, but every once in a while, a guest opens the door into a world I knew little of before. When Dr. William Valenti came on the show to discuss his book AIDS, A Matter of Urgency, it was an eye-opening experience. In our conversation, and throughout the book he wrote, he shares the history of the evolution of AIDS and its treatment, the enormous role both the community of Rochester and its medical organizations played in addressing and developing treatments and support systems, and how AIDS doctors dealt with the crossover between personal and professional life as friends became patients and patients became friends. Dr. Valenti was also very candid in his discussion of his own personal and professional evolution.
When I invited Dr. Bill to be a guest, I’d anticipated doing a half hour episode. At the end of the first half hour, our discussion was so fascinating, and we’d barely touched the surface, so I thank him for generously agreeing to stay and do a second part to this episode.
You can purchase AIDS: A Matter of Urgency by visiting DrBillValenti.com. All proceeds from the book will be donated to Trillium Health’s Fund to End the HIV Epidemic by 2020.
1:25 – Dr. Valenti discusses his reasons for writing AIDS: A Matter of Urgency at this time
3:15 – Discussion about “The Best of Times, The Worst of Times” and being on the cutting edge of innovation and the rallying of community around the fight.
4:15 – The role of the community in fighting AIDS and HIV
5:10 – The need to respond to issues that have never before arisen,, and learning to think on one’s feet
6:45 – The “Safety Net,” a.k.a. “Plan B”
7:25 – How the movie The Dallas Buyer’s Club reflected what was really happening
9:38 – A discussion of the six-year period in which there was no effective medicine to fight AIDS, and the use of experimental drugs in a supervised medical setting
11:47 – AIDS and family relationships;, the role of mothers in the fight; this issue of stigma
14:09 – The evolution of the fight against AIDS, and Dr. Valenti’s personal and professional evolution; the erosion of personal and professional boundaries in the fight against AIDS
16:40 – Dr. Valenti’s development as The AIDS Doctor
18:49 – A discussion of the writing of AIDS: A Matter of Urgency
20:00 – “Crowdfunding” in the 80’s and “Dining for Dollars” to raise funds to fight AIDS before federal funding; The Ryan White Care Act
21:00 – The history of the evolution of AIDS and its treatment
24:00 – The political response to AIDS; The role Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson played in addressing AIDS
25:30 – “Infection Diseases: Other” and the beginning of AIDS.